A while back I had written another blog on entrepreneurship and I cited Richard Burk and Bevil Hogg as the two co-founders of Trek Bicycles for starting to build frames for touring bikes at Waterloo in Wisconsin. I later owned a Trek 920 mountain bike built at that facility. One trademark decal that was on the 920 frame near the bottom bracket was a small American flag This was a product made in Wisconsin!
Like many cyclists, I have a love affair with my Trek Domane AL-3. It is a wonderfully performing road bike with 18 speeds made up of two chain rings up front with a nine-sprocket cluster in the rear. The AL in AL-3 stands for aluminum. That combination gives the bike a lot of power with a light weight ratio. It is excellent on hills and can help a rider develop some pretty good speed.
Companies like Trek and Cannondale among others were bringing that sense of American-made pride to cyclists. Some companies like Ross literally went bankrupt due to faulty government contracts often for unrelated business. Others like Schwinn disappeared as quality bicycles when a buyer offered Frank Schwinn a ton of money for rights to that name.
There is something wrong with all of this. Americans have access to high quality technical education at their local community colleges and trade schools. I am wondering if this is caused by the very situation that Mike Rowe has been talking about.
Politicians can talk about making Americans great again. But Americans have to start making themselves great at relearning the craftsmanship that it takes to build things like bicycles and produce products that you can put a flag on it and literally call it “made in the USA.” Our youth have to learn the pride of working with their hands. We need to build back that can-do spirit that our economy was once based on.